Tomorrow marks the start of the next phase in the daily battle against the bookies as Flat returns. Of course the jumps are not finished yet and I cannot wait for Aintree to kick off. If the declarations for Day 1 are anything to go by it will be some festival of equine talent. However, tomorrow marks the start of the flat and usual annual curtain raiser- The Lincoln (Doncaster, 3.50)
Using my usual 3 sources of information (Horseracebase.com, geegeez.co.uk and the Racing Post) I have come up wit two bets, and while they are not that imaginative given they are near the top of the market, they both look to have solid chances:-
Gabrial’s Kaka 9/1 (now 7/1, i wouldnt want to back below that) 1pt WIN
Off Art 8/1 1pt WIN
So, how did I end up with those two. Firstly I used the following key trends:-
1. During the last 17 runnings ALL winner have come from 1 of 2 rest periods. 4 of the winners were returning between 8-15 days, and the other 13 had all been of the course between 121-365 days.
Now, for me those are strong figures and rightly or wrongly, depending on your point of view, I will apply them strictly. There have been 129 horses in that time to have run outside of those rest patterns, and all have lost. Applying this rule gets us down from 20 runners to 9. Much more manageable.
2. WEIGHT. Only one horse from 37 has carried more than 9-5 to victory. That knocks out Tulius and last year’s winner Levitate. Now this is not to say they cant win, but it would be some performance if they did. The point is that large weight carrying performances do not happen that often in this race.
Age is also important – all bar 1 winner in last 17 years has been a 4,5 or 6 year old. As it happens, the above two trends have already removed all of the older horses.
so we are left with a shortlist of Mezzotint, Hi There, One Word More, Balty Boys, Jacks Revenge, Gabrial’s Kaka and Off Art.
Now for some form analysis…
Mezzotint looks like he prefers Good-Firm ground, and not the soft he will face here. Not for me.
Balty Boys just doesnt look good enough and needs to prove himself at this level. He looks exposed, but does come from a shrewd trainer.
Jack’s Revenge looks handicapped up to the hilt and has never won above Class 3.
Now onto the interesting ones…
A case, based on the trainer (same as our selection) can be made for Hi There. However, surely he is exposed. He has had 26 career runs, and would need a career best to win here. Hi highest winning rating to date has been 91 and that was with a 7lb claimer on board.
In truth, One Word More has a good chance and it wouldnt surprise me if he went close. But, he is only 1 win from 11 on turf and that is enough to put me off. He has to prove his liking for 8f, although that hasnt stopped past winners.
So, that just leaves my two selections, who both happen to be near the top of the market. No big proced winners here, but I wont be complaining if one of them wins. Off Art is unexposed, clearly improving and appears to have been aimed at this race (could say that about quite a few of them in truth!) But, there is nothing to put me off.
Gabrial’s Kaka is from a stable that has won this before, for the same jockey and owner. Again he is improving, and has every chance with some string form at the back end of last season.
That is my thinking, we shall see how they do.